Jack Conan  makes a break to set up his side’s first try during the Champions Cup defeat to   Toulouse  at Stade Ernest-Wallon  in Toulouse, France. Photograph:  Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Training invariably provides the first indicator that a team is mentally and physically attuned in the week ahead of a match. It takes various shapes (...)

  Ireland’s players form a guard of honour for New Zealand at the end of the match. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Warning to offshore Kiwis: return home predicting a New Zealand loss at your peril. Definitely don’t do it on national television. The grief! Before(...)

 Connacht’s head coach Andy Friend: “We face a big challenge in Murrayfield.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Edinburgh v Connacht Venue: Murrayfield. Kick off: 7.35pm. On TV: eirSport and Premier Sports. Paul Boyle is used to confounding convention. He shru(...)

Head coach Anthony Eddy talks to the Ireland women’s team during squad training for the  World Cup Sevens at   San Francisco GAA club. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

The Ireland Men and Women Sevens teams take to the field at AT&T Park in San Francisco, home to the San Francisco Giants Baseball team, in their r(...)

France’s Daniel Brennan could still play for Ireland. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

French prop Daniel Brennan’s pitch side interview at Stade Aime Giral on Tuesday, after New Zealand were dethroned in the Junior World Cup semi-final,(...)

 Diarmuid Barron, Caelan Doris and Matthew Agnew at the announcement of the  squad for the U-20 World Cup in France at Spencer Dock in Dublin yesterday. Inpho: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

A new captain, five uncapped players, a coaching team trimmed by one and injuries to a couple of key players represent an overview of the challenges f(...)

Joe Schmidt: “The door is never closed on a player playing externally. But it becomes a very difficult calculation.” Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

For those who missed the memo, the IRFU policy of not selecting players that venture overseas has hardened. “That’s probably a fair summation,” said (...)

Rio Olympics veteran Ronan Gormley is one of the experienced hands in the Ireland squad. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho.

Irish coach Craig Fulton has announced an 18-man squad for this week’s World League 2 tournament in Belfast with five Lisnagarvey and four Banbridge p(...)

James Lowe of the Maori All Blacks runs in for a try in their victory over the USA Eagles. Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images

Munster v Maori All Blacks, Thomond Park, Friday, 7.30pm (Live Eir Sport) Munster already find themselves in the midst of an unbelievably draining (...)

Connacht prop Finlay Bealham (left) has been added to the Ireland bench for Saturday’s Six Nations match against Italy   after Cian Healy was ruled out through injury. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Cian Healy’s “mild hamstring strain” is the same muscle that the injury-prone 28-year-old tore off the bone just over a year ago. It means uncapped Au(...)